Published: 23rd March 2020
Meet this 24-year-old from B'luru who can carve your entire name on a pencil tip
Chetan Murthy is a self-taught artist whose pencil sculptures and other art works are unique and awesome. Check it out if you are in Bengaluru and get one pencil sculpture for yourself
As school kids, it was natural for most of us to take a shining to some artform or the other — be it dance, art, music and so on. But as we grow older and go on to pursue higher studies, we tend to leave behind the art we were once interested in to do something more 'serious' with our lives. But Chetan Murthy from Bengaluru couldn't do it. He is 'versatile' as he believes that doing the same thing for life is no fun — at least that's what his Instagram profile says. And after a brief conversation with him, we can vouch that versatile is the perfect word to describe him.
Growing up, Chetan was good at sketching, painting, caricatures and sculpting of clay, wood and, more interestingly, pencils. In short, he's a total visual artform package. He says, "I was in class VIII when I saw these pencil sculptures for the first time and wondered in awe how these artists could make such sculptures that involve intricate and detailed work. I practised sculpting models in pieces of chalk first and gained the confidence that I could do the same with pencil too."
Now, I can tell you that I've met a lot of artists and they are either born with the artistic genes or have the intense training to be as good as they are. So, it was quite refreshing to learn that Chetan has neither of these backing his amazing talent. The final-year Mechanical Engineering from BGS Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, says, "I am a self-taught artist and have not pursued any course or training to learn pencil sculptures. It is only through observing models that I make these sculptures. Apart from my keen sense of observation and good eye-hand coordination, it was pure interest that led me to continue sculpting on pencil lead. It has been eight years and art is now a part of my life."
So, what does he carve on pencil lead? Chetan has carved names of people, famous cartoon character Bugs Bunny, a sleeping Buddha, twisted ladders, Singa-Laut AKA Merlion of Singapore and many more. Each sculpture carved by Chetan will catch your attention and you will see that there are no flaws and it is exactly like the original. Chetan explains, "I use only one instrument and that is a detail knife and I sculpt these models without the assistance of any lenses. And the number of days to make these sculptures depends on how intricate the work is. For example, I once created a sculpture of a saadhu that took me nearly 40 hours to do. Though I don't keep a tab of the number of days I take on a particular model, I know the number of hours I have spent."
As Chetan has been doing pencil sculptures for a long time, he set up his own studio at his residence in Bengaluru. The 24-year-old tells us that most people place orders to carve their name on pencil lead, "Young college girls and boys come to me to get their name carved on pencil. Some young professionals also place orders to gift their loved ones. Similarly, some people place orders for the statue of Buddha to gift it during housewarming ceremonies and so on."
Chetan has developed his own style of pencil sculpting so that he and his work stand miles apart from other artists. He says, "There are different categories in this artform including tribal art, modern art, contemporary art and mine involves sculpting humans in the form of snakes. Everyone has seen the famous seduction sculpture but I have carved the same sculpture in pencil lead in the form of a snake that is spiralled around. This is one of my unique pieces."
Co-Founders' caricatures at SIXTYY pub in Bengaluru
Going forward, Chetan wants to continue what he likes doing rather than getting stuck in a 9 to 5 job. "I have already generated a wide enough network in this field and many people identify me by the work I do. So, I am here to stay and do all sorts of artwork that I come across," he concludes.